LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new visitors center at the Little Rock Central High Historic Site tells the story of school integration in the words of nine black students who braved white mobs to attend the school. The site also offers the accounts of others who lived through those times.
The center officially opens next Monday across from Central High and the current visitors center.
Visitors will be able to hear the stories of the Little Rock Nine through the press of a button, watch video of the 1957 desegregation crisis and explore the history of the civil rights movement as it unfolded in Little Rock 50 years ago.
Congress appropriated $6 million for the new center and staffers are busy putting together the finishing touches to open in time for the 50th anniversary of the crisis next week.
The Little Rock Nine, former president Bill Clinton and others will gather at the school to remember the landmark event when President Eisenhower sent troops to protect the students and ensure their right to attend the all-white school.
The new center is about five times larger than the existing one. The site is the only National Park Service historic site with a fully functioning school.